Tuesday, 17 July 2018

US could probe T-Mobile-Sprint deal over China links

By Nick Wood, for Total Telecom
Wednesday 04 July 18

Lawmakers to look into Sprint parent Softbank's ties to Huawei

US lawmakers plan to call for an in-depth investigation into T-Mobile US' acquisition of Sprint on the grounds that the latter's parent Softbank works with Huawei. A draft letter seen by Bloomberg claims the merger poses a threat to national security…

US lawmakers plan to call for an in-depth investigation into T-Mobile US' acquisition of Sprint on the grounds that the latter's parent Softbank works with Huawei.

A draft letter seen by Bloomberg claims the merger poses a threat to national security. The letter will reportedly be sent to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who leads a US national security review of the deal.

The letter cites Softbank's September 2017 announcement that it will explore potential 5G use cases with Huawei. In November, Softbank also signed an MoU with Huawei Wireless X Labs concerning the development of 5G-powered smart robots, designed to provide care to elderly and disabled people.

In addition, the letter points out that Sprint violated a 2013 agreement under which it pledged to remove Huawei equipment from its networks.

"Recognising that these companies operate as subsidiaries of foreign-owned firms – one of which maintains long-standing close ties with Chinese state-influenced entities – a full and robust national security investigation is required," urged the letter, according to the report.

T-Mobile and Sprint agreed their $26.5 billion merger in April. If the deal goes ahead, the combined entity will boast 120 million customers. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom will own 42% of the company, while Softbank will hold 27%.

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